At least three units and two cars were damaged when a rain tree collapsed on the four-story walk-up condominium Kismis Court on Toh Yi Road.
The incident occurred at 10 p.m. on Monday (March 1). The occupants of one of the affected apartments, on the third floor, told The Straits Times that they were sleeping when they heard a noisy noise.Mr Alan Woo, 78, and his wife Ellen, 76, got out of bed, drew their curtains and were shocked to see a fallen branch pressing against their closed window.
Residents said the tree was at least 50 years old and it was taller than their four-storey block.
Speaking about the ordeal from their unit on Tuesday, Mr Woo, a retired businessman, said: “It was so loud, it sounded like a plane dropped out of the sky and crashed into the building.”
For more than 40 years, he and his wife, a retired teacher, have lived at Kismis Court, off Bukit Timah Road.
The tree has twisted the railing on their balcony, and the couple were hoping that their condominium policy or home insurance would cover the cost of the repairs. Their automobile, which was parking in the compound next to the block, was also destroyed.The damage to another impacted unit, which belonged to their neighbor below them, was more severe.
When ST arrived at Madam Fu’s ground-floor apartment, she showed ST how the garden had been entirely obscured by the tree’s roots, broken roof tiles, smashed windows, and the retractable awning that had once protected her patio but had been torn off by the fallen tree.All of her glass was shattered.
Workers from a landscaping firm were cutting and removing trees with chainsaws.
When Madam Fu returned from a wake and saw neighbors standing outside, it wasn’t raining but it was mildly windy, according to Madam Fu, whose house is insured by home insurance.
“(The electricity) in my whole home was tripped,” she said, adding that gardening was her passion and she usually went out to garden in the evenings.
“The birds were always singing up there in the morning… It’s quite a shame,” she added.
Dr. Geoffrey Benjamin, 80, chairman of the Kismis Court Residents’ Committee, said the tree was one of two old trees in the condominium that were tested by arborists every two years.
The tree was pruned about two years ago, according to Dr. Benjamin, an anthropologist.He added: “The residents’ council will hold a meeting to discuss the issue but the details of insurance and claims will be left to the management.”Insurance agents told ST that home insurance could cover the damage caused by a fallen tree since it could be seen as a natural disaster.
Vehicle owners of cars damaged by fallen trees within private property can claim against their own motor insurance policy, with payout amounts dependent on the damage to the vehicle.The damage will be verified by insurance surveyors.
For Madam Fu, while she was grateful no one was hurt, she was sad about her 40 potted plants, which included hibiscus, basil and pandan, that were crushed by the tree.
She said: “I can’t believe it. It used to be so colourful. Now, when you look outside, it’s in complete ruins.”